Yes, I said ‘record’ and yes I said ‘Prince’. ‘Purple Rain’, what a classic and perfect music for my little living room non-weight bearing workout routine-a little yoga/stretching, some sit-ups, legs lifts, old fashioned bicycle pedaling in the air while laying on my back. It isn’t much but it helps keep me sane and maybe one day I’ll have abs of steel instead of abs of Pillsbury Doughboy. Well, maybe abs of cardboard. Anyway, the dreaded day has finally come and my 19 year old turntable has finally died. Do they still make them? That’s always been my panic, will there come a day when I can no longer enjoy my vinyl? As it happens they do still make them and I can buy one in downtown Boulder less than 10 minutes from my house for $150 which I’m sure is less than what I paid for the old turntable. But ‘Purple Rain’ will have to wait because I’m not going out tonight in the snowstorm. Or more precisely I’m not going out again in the snowstorm. In a fit of wishful thinking I was hoping it was the receiver that was toast and not my beloved turntable. It’s an ancient P.O.S. receiver that Jonny bought used from a friend to do the friend a favor. We could have afforded a nice new one but instead I have been putting up with this crappy receiver for maybe 10 years, maybe more. I know that sounds spoiled. It’s not like I wanted a super fancy thing, just something that wasn’t a complete P.O.S. To add insult to injury the friend bought a super fancy mega receiver. Anyway when music stopped coming out when the turntable was playing I was more than happy to blame the receiver. So we plugged the turntable into the other outlets and it still didn’t work. But suddenly the tape deck (yes, I said tape deck) wasn’t working either. The only thing working was the CD player and the radio. So we busted out our old receiver and the turntable and tape deck didn’t play on that either and the CD player did play but that receiver was partially broken and neither of us could remember in what way it was broken so the crappy receiver was not off the hook and I decided we should go out in the snowstorm at 4:00 on a Sunday to get a new receiver so I can get my abs of cardboard while listening to Prince next week.
I’m pretty much out of the loop when it comes to fancy pants electronics equipment. I’m probably the only person in Boulder with an old school t.v. and my stereo equipment is older than the salesmen that work at the electronics store. It seems like that stuff is designed to break so I usually go for the cheapest thing and it usually works just fine. Too many features just confuse me. Unfortunately I can’t tell if the receiver I want will work with my old fashioned equipment as the box says it’s for a home entertainment system and I’m not even sure what that is. When we finally hunt down a salesman to help us it’s clear that he’s almost certainly never seen a turntable in person in his life except maybe at a club. I ask him anyway, will this receiver thingy work with my turntable? He’s not sure and asks me if it has some specific kind of wire but he uses number & letters to describe it. Um, yeah, I explain to him I have no idea and he asks if it has a red plug and a white plug. Yes, thank you, why couldn’t he just say that in the first place? I notice that the receiver box says ‘XM ready’ and finally I’m excited about technology. But it turns out I have to buy a transmitter ($30 and they’re out of stock) and a dock for the transmitter (another $30-if I need them both for it to work why not sell them together?) plus the subscription I have for my car won’t work in the house, I need to pay for another half a subscription. Uhhh, never mind. Can I plug my computer into the receiver and run XM from there? Well, I could but I instead I could buy this other thingy that will wirelessly transmit the XM to the receiver, it’s only $200. Umm, how much is the cord to connect the computer to the receiver? $7? We’ll go with that.
$307 plus tax and lots of wrestling with wires later and good news is the tape deck finally works but bad news is still no Prince coming from the speakers. And because my components are so out of date I have to write down a key so I know what to set the receiver to (DVR=Tape Deck, etc.). But it sounds so much nicer than the old receiver and when the snow melts in a couple of days we’ll get our turntable and finally there will be Prince and maybe some not so flabby abs.
Oh and here’s a tip for installing new electronic equipment-put the border collies in another room because one of them will want to help, one of them will find a stash of long lost balls behind the sofa that was moved and toss them at you repeatedly at the most inopportune moments and the third will decide that she really needs her head scritched like right now, again at the most inopportune moment.